Viv Anderson

Vivian Alexander Anderson, MBE (born 29 July 1956) is an English former professional footballer and coach. He won five senior trophies including the 1977–78 Football League title, and both the 1978–79 European Cup and the 1979–80 European Cup playing for Brian Clough‘s Nottingham Forest. He was later part of the squads to win a domestic cup with each of Arsenal and Manchester United. He also played for Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Middlesbrough. He was the first black and second non-white footballer after Paul Reaney to play for the senior men’s England national football team.[2]

English footballer and coach
For other people with the same name, see Vivian Anderson.

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Viv Anderson
Personal information
Full name Vivian Alexander Anderson
Date of birth (1956-07-29) 29 July 1956 (age 65)
Place of birth Clifton, Nottingham, England
Height 6 ft 0.5 in (1.84 m)[1]
Position(s) Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1974–1984 Nottingham Forest 328 (15)
1984–1987 Arsenal 120 (9)
1987–1991 Manchester United 54 (3)
1991–1993 Sheffield Wednesday 70 (8)
1993–1994 Barnsley 20 (3)
1994–1995 Middlesbrough 2 (0)
Total 594 (38)
National team
1978 England U21 1 (0)
1978–1988 England 30 (2)
Teams managed
1993–1994 Barnsley (player-manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

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Anderson was born in Clifton, Nottingham. He spent a year as a schoolboy with Manchester United before being released. He returned to Nottingham where at school he sat and passed three CSEs. He then worked for three weeks as a silkscreen printer that he described as “a glorified tea boy really. I’d get the tea, and get the sandwiches at lunch time. I was just a dogsbody.”[3] Anderson had broken into the Nottingham Forest team during 1974 and became a regular after the arrival of Brian Clough as manager of the East Midlands club, then in the Second Division, in January 1975. He was part of the side that won promotion to the First Division in 1977, winning the title, along with the League Cup, a year later.

Anderson was one of the first black players to represent top English clubs at the time, and regularly suffered racial abuse from fans of rival teams. He was regularly pelted with bananas and targeted with racist chants.[4]

Anderson made his debut for England in November 1978, for a friendly against Czechoslovakia. He became the second non-white footballer to represent the men’s senior England team after Paul Reaney who had first appeared for England in 1968.[5] Coach Ron Greenwood was insistent that no political issue was at stake, despite the ever-rising number of young black stars in the game, born and raised in England. There was no doubt that Anderson was playing outstandingly in a form team that season and got his call-up entirely on merit. A gangly, awkward figure, he was a much-admired tackler and was also quick going forward and occasionally scored vital goals. Vindication for his selection on merit was further supplied when Anderson was part of the Forest team that retained the League Cup (though he missed the final through injury)[6] and then clinched the European Cup in 1979 with victory over Malmö.

His second cap was in a friendly against Sweden in June 1979. His third appearance was his first competitive international as England defeated Bulgaria 2–0 at Wembley in a qualifier for the 1980 European Championships.

Anderson continued to impress for Forest during this period, and picked up his second European Cup winners’ medal when they retained the trophy with victory over Hamburger SV in Madrid. Forest did reach a third successive League Cup final that year, but lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

England had duly got through to the European Championship finals in Italy and Anderson was named in Greenwood’s squad, playing in the final group game against Spain as a replacement for Neal. England won 2–1 but did not progress further. Anderson later made his World Cup debut in a qualifier for the 1982 competition in a 4–0 win over Norway. Essentially the battle was now between Neal and Anderson for the No. 2 shirt, but after qualification for the World Cup, suddenly neither were appropriate for the role.

Injury to Kevin Keegan had meant Greenwood needed to call upon an experienced club captain to lead the team out in Spain, so Ipswich Town’s skipper Mick Mills, normally a left-back, was put in the right-back slot (with regular incumbent Kenny Sansom remaining on the left) and both Neal and Anderson missed out. Neal played against Kuwait in the final group game to rest Mills when qualification had already been assured, but Mills returned for the second phase, from which England were eliminated. Anderson, meanwhile, never kicked a ball.

With Forest beginning to fall from grace (the ageing side was breaking up and the 1980 European Cup win was to prove to be their last trophy for nine years), Anderson’s England career seemed to be stalling. After the World Cup and Greenwood’s departure, he did not feature at all under new coach Bobby Robson until 1984, with Neal still mainly getting the nod. England failed to qualify for the 1984 European Championships during this period.

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